Who Are We Taking With Us?

The currency of heaven may be many things but in my opinion, faith and people are at the top of the list.

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please God. Add to this the greatest of treasures we can store up in heaven, people, and we are on a winner. Begs the question then, as we work out our faith in Jesus, who am are taking with us?

Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land, eventually. They had to wait what may have seemed like forever, 40 years, for the moment to finally arrive. Yet they entered with the same focus and determination they had when the first opportunity had been provided them. More importantly though, they didn’t just enter for themselves, they took the next generation in with them.

These two men demonstrate 3 simple but extremely powerful qualities which in the busy way of life can so easily get lost.

TO WALK WELL WITH GOD

TO POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS

TO NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF GOD’S PROMISES

I watched an episode of Ambulance on BBC yesterday. The people being served were normal, every day people but they were broken people, some in desperate situations, others needing care, friendship, conversation, or even just someone to make them a cup of tea. Their stories were captivating and they stirred my heart.

Questions came flooding in.

Who am I taking with me?
How is my walk with God influencing the lives of those around me?
How is my people focus?
If my life is supposed to point people to Jesus, is it working?

This has to be the greatest of challenges for all Christians. We do well, we don’t do well. So maybe we need to be more vigilant. Is our belief coming through in how we live?

So here are some ‘top tips’ (for want of a better phrase) which I am committing myself to work on over the next few months and the rest of my life…

I will not let myself get bored with God.
I will work to keep my life pointed to Jesus.
I have to sharpen my people focus. To see people.
I won’t allow myself to become so easily frustrated with Gods ways.
I will always have people I want to take with me.

So who are we praying for, not preaching too? Who are we listening to, not just their voice but their heart too? Where are the opportunities to serve, not only ourselves but others too?

Maybe then, as we live out our faith in Jesus we will almost inadvertently be taking some people with us. And that will be AMAZING!!

Share your thoughts. Why do you think this is such a big challenge for us?

Lead Well: 8 Ways to Sharpen Our People Focus

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. [Proverbs 27:17]
Everyday we interact with others. Everyday how we deal with these interactions can help us win friends and influence people. Or maybe not.

Some people seem to be naturally gifted in building relationships, handling confrontation, harnessing the opportunities that new encounters can bring. Some of us aren’t. Instead we focus more on ourselves, our interests, our point of view, our growth and our need for affirmation.

To lead well in life is to turn the focus from ourselves on to other people. To intentionally think of them. To take responsibility for playing our part which in reality is the only part we can take responsibility for.

Smile. Costs nothing to give.

Remember names. Who enjoys being called by the wrong one.

Speak words of encouragement. Specific words show we have noticed something someone has done well.

Believe the best of people. This is the difference when we focus on others and not ourselves. We can be too keen to protect our own position because we believe in us more than others.

Recognise the power of having the right people around you. People can work with you, help you to grow, stop you from making mistakes, and keep you on track with all you want to accomplish.

Pass on what you know to someone. Help others to grow. Pour into another what you have had poured into you.

The best of relationships take time and effort. Building anything takes time and great relationships are no different. Don’t compare the depth of your friendships with people with the ones they have with others. Just be a friend, serving and loving them the best you can.

Help people to know you better. It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

When we focus on these things we sharpen others. We make them better. We brighten their countenance. We lift them. We put a smile on their face. We put a spring in their step. We become someone known as someone who is all about helping others to flourish. 

The alternative is way too selfish and doesn’t bear thinking about.

How do you sharpen your people focus?

Lead Well: Win People, Not Problems

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Lead well in life by avoiding criticism.

I know this can be a challenge especially if you are in a role that often calls for you to comment, give an opinion or to ‘critic’ the merits of something. There is a balance between this being kept healthy and helpful, rather than becoming personal and painful.

Some things I have learned by getting it right and wrong along the way…

Speak words which always have the best interests of the other person in mind not just your own.

Speak with the vision or cause in view not just your own personal preference. Keep the big picture in mind.

Speak about the ‘thing’ rather than the person. Unless it is a person then speak to them face to face, not to others and remember the above.

Bring suggestions to the table for improvement rather than just with a ‘fix-list’ for others to sort out.

Don’t put all your energy into winning the argument. Put all your energy into winning the person.

Slow down. Pray. Ask for some Godly wisdom.

I can naturally be a cynic so I have had to learn to listen first, wait, not say some stuff that may just not be helpful and think things through more fully.

Remember we can give an opinion without being opinionated, we can give a ‘critic’ without being critical, we can always see the person not just the problem.

Just a thought. What do you think? Add anything helpful to the list?

11 Questions to Ask About the People Around You

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You can go further when you have the right people with you and that’s a fact.

We were created for relationship and more importantly, we were created for the right kind of relationships. Most people agree, we become like those we hang around with, so the question is, who are you hanging around with?

In pursuit of the dream, the accomplishment of a  particular goal or just a strong desire to lead well in life, all can be enhanced by having the right people around. Be willing to ask yourself the tough questions. People can bring out the best in you or the worst. People can lift you or pull you down. Who do you have around you and what do they bring?

Do they believe in you? Do they encourage you?

Do they inspire you? Do they resource you?

Do they challenge you? Do they ask the right questions?

Do they celebrate with you? Do they have a great walk with God?

Do they demonstrate loyalty? Do they trust you?

Do they share the same values and beliefs?

Now, I’m not telling you to go and say goodbye to all your friends but I am telling you to be careful about your connections. The right ones can cause you to flourish, the wrong ones may possibly destroy you.

When there were 80 days left until the New Year I asked what would you give your attention to during those days. Now 14 days have already passed, lets see what we have done. [Awkward moment when we reflect and either say something or nothing].

Here’s one thing you can do which will help in making some progress – get the right people with you on the journey. Take time out over the next couple of days and ask yourself, who is the one person who could help me, who could I share my dreams with, who could I be accountable to for actually making things happen. If you believe in God, why not spend some time asking Him to help in bringing the right people into your world.

How has having the right people around you helped?

Who Brings You Back to God?

Relationships IN that will make me better when giving OUT in relationships. That’s what I’ve been thinking about today.

To help me be the best I can be at reaching out to people who are outside of my comfort, out of sorts, or without faith I need certain mix of people in my world.

It’s probably a long list but the one I have been most conscious about is the need for someone in my world who is in touch with God. More specifically, someone who can bring me back to God. Someone, as Leonard Sweet puts it, will protect my Jesus voice.

What type of relationships do you need IN your life to help with the relationships your give OUT to?

Love Sundays

Nothing better than heading home after a Sunday in Gods house. It may be cliché to say this but it is the best way to start a new week. It is one of the most important things for me to do. Being in Church keep my heart aligned to the right things.

Why I love Sundays?

My amazing Church family.
The chance to worship together.
For Gods presence.
Watching people serving in the House.
Salvations.

How about you, what do you love about being in Gods House every Sunday?

It’s About People [19.2]

Leadership is about people.

After keeping my trust in God strong, one thing kept me going. People. I was at University in Sheffield at the time and the church I was part of wasn’t large but it had a good bunch of young adults in it and we all shared the same passion for wanting to serve. None of us really knew what we were doing but we had a willingness to give it a go. We would succeed and fail together.

I am thankful that we had each other.  For the sense of team and camaraderie. Even more than that, I was thankful for the friendships. We had fun. We had a laugh. We did life together. We supported one another, prayed for one another, encouraged each other. We fought for each other too.

As a group of friends we also had the investment from a couple in the church who not only encouraged us, but opened up their home to us, helped us in our thinking, prayed with us, believed in our ability to make a difference.

Looking back, their trust in us was pretty amazing. I think I spent as much time with them as I did getting my Uni work completed (maybe more sometimes). I have an immense sense of gratitude for the investment from Kevin & Tina. They took a punt on a bunch of young leaders and that’s a challenge to me right now to be doing the same.

Having the right kind of people around me kept me on the leadership journey. Despite my best efforts to sabotage my leadership with some choices that are best left unmentioned, having the right voices speaking into my life was invaluable.

I was regularly challenged to give things a go.
I was being confronted about lifestyle choices.
I was beginning to change into the person God needed me to become.
I was developing the character of a leader.

I have definitely learned that the following is very true…
Leadership is about people.
The people you lead.
The people you lead with.
The people who lead you.

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Who are the people that you are thankful for? 
Those who have challenged and confronted you, brought about change and developed the right kind of leadership character in you?

Check out Leadership Steps [19.1]

What Can I Give Back?

What can I give back?
What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

Psalm 116…gives a simple answer…
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation – a toast to God.
I’ll pray in the name of God.
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do.
I’ll complete it together with his people.

My opinions must be put to one side.
Time for me can be given up.
Remember what God has done, celebrate that and live the best life I can…that must be made important, given time and honoured in the right manner.
Keep my promise.
Do my best to get along with God’s people.

I pray that I can do these well!!